Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota have invented a cat that is not only adorable but also glows a radioactive green color. Oh, and he cures HIV, too.
No, seriously, both of those things are true…ish. You see, the cat has had genes from a rhesus macaque inserted into his genome, a fancy word for DNA. These genes produce a protein that helps T-cells resist the attacks of HIV viruses. The healthy green glow appears under a certain light and was taken from jellyfish and used to track the other, less awesome but more helpful HIV battling genes.
While feline AIDS is the number one killer of cats, this research could help humans by giving scientists insight into how HIV resistance can be transplanted between species and how those proteins interact with different cells. In layman’s terms, if we can make kitties resistant to HIV, why not people? Or at least develop better drugs from the enhanced protein synthesis.
So far, cells from the cat have shown viral resistence when under a microscope. While the cat has yet to be injected with the virus, researchers say they’re for the next step. Lets keep our fingers and claws crossed.
No word yet on when glowing cats will be available at your nearest PetsMart, but you can talk about them and their importance to AIDS research in the forums.